Lock (device)
A lock is a mechanical
Mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment....

 or electronic
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 fastening device that is released by a physical object (such as a key
Key (lock)
A key is an instrument that is used to operate a lock. A typical key consists of two parts: the blade, which slides into the keyway of the lock and distinguishes between different keys, and the bow, which is left protruding so that torque can be applied by the user. The blade is usually intended to...

, keycard, fingerprint
A fingerprint in its narrow sense is an impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger. In a wider use of the term, fingerprints are the traces of an impression from the friction ridges of any part of a human hand. A print from the foot can also leave an impression of friction ridges...

, RFID card, or security token
Security token
A security token may be a physical device that an authorized user of computer services is given to ease authentication...

) or secret information (such as a keycode or password), or combination of more than one of these.

Typically, in pin-tumbler
Pin tumbler lock
The pin tumbler lock is a lock mechanism that uses pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the correct key...

 and wafer-tumbler
Wafer tumbler lock
A wafer tumbler lock is a type of lock that uses a set of flat wafers to prevent the lock from opening unless the correct key is inserted. This type of lock is similar to the pin tumbler lock and works on a similar principle. However, unlike the pin tumbler lock, the wafer is a single piece...

 applications, a lock in the rest position is closed. The key has a series of grooves on either side of the key (the key's blade), which limit the type of lock the key can slide into.